Actually launched earlier than the Galaxy S8, globally, the LG G6 has been often criticised of its last year’s processor and the fact that the Galaxy S8 is probably the best smartphone right now. But all is not true. Know here why?
- Compact Design
- Sturdy Build Quality
- Wide Angle Rear Camera
- Decent Battery Life
- Aesthetics could have been better
- LG UI 6.0 is heavy
LG have had some decent flagship devices in the past, of course bearing last year’s LG G5. However, the company has failed to transmit the devices from store to people’s hands. This is mainly because of its poor advertising strategy. Launched earlier than the Galaxy S8, globally, the LG G6 has often been criticised of its last year’s processor and the fact that the Galaxy S8 is probably the best smartphone right now. But all is not true, in my case. I have been that small bunch of people who have liked LG G6 more than the Galaxy S8 and to know why here is my review for the LG G6.
LG G6 has a safe design
Well, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 just doesn’t look that attractive. After all, we have to admit; nothing beats an edge-to-edge curved display. However, LG G6 is not that bad. One reason I incline more towards the LG G6 is how sturdy it feels in hands. The device is not the thinnest of the lot at 7.9 mm thickness and the metal edges on this one is rather flat. The back is all glass with a brush metal finish inside, and the front has some minimal bezels on the sides along with one of the thinnest top and bottom bezels. The volume rockers are placed on the right side, and the power button is on the rear panel doubling up as a fingerprint scanner. We have the headphone jack at the top while the speaker grill along with the USB Type-C port and the primary microphone at the bottom. Up front, we have the beautiful 5.7-inch Quad HD (18:9 aspect ratio, 1440 x 2880 pixel resolution) IPS LCD Display along with the earpiece, the front camera and some sensors just above it. Moving towards the rear panel, we have the dual-camera setup along with a dual-toned LED flash and correct me if I wrong - does it look like a face?
The antenna bands are running on all edges, and we have some LG branding on both sides of the device. I had the Ice Platinum variant, and I seem to have liked this one over the Astro Black option. Coming back to the design, despite having a glass panel at the back, the LG G6 doesn’t slip off that easily - thanks to those flat metal edges. Also, just like the Galaxy S8, LG G6 is very compact. I am not a fan of big screen smartphones, but when it comes to such small form factor, I don’t mind. LG G6 measures at 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm which makes it smaller than OnePlus 3T and similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Apart from this, the 5.7-inch edge-to-edge display on the LG G6 is the first on a smartphone to bring Dolby Vision display technology. The display is curved from corners which I seem to have liked over time. Watching 18:9 compatible movies is a treat, and if you are fond of watching videos on YouTube, you will have to deal with those annoying black bars on both sides. There is an option of app scaling in the settings menu, but YouTube isn’t supported yet. Nevertheless, the display is sharp and responsive, and it also gets extremely bright outdoors. The auto-brightness was on point as well, and the display on the LG G6 is probably the best if you are not a fan of AMOLED panels.
Performance is not just about the processor
LG launched the G6 before Galaxy S8 to capture some important sales figures, however. As a result, it had to go with last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, but does that make it inferior to the Galaxy S8? No, for the most bit of your usage. Clocked at 2.35GHz, the Octa-Core Snapdragon 821 is an incredibly powerful chipset, and you will not notice any real difference in day-to-day usage when compared to the Snapdragon 835 Galaxy S8. Well, benchmark scores will, rightfully, favour the Galaxy S8 but they are not the best standard for performance measurement, are they? Besides Snapdragon 821, the G6 comes with 4GB RAM, 64GB of internal storage which is expandable up to 256GB via dual hybrid micro SD card. The device runs on Android 7.0 Nougat coupled with LG’s UI on top and based on my testing, the new UI on the LG G6 is now more straightforward, clean and responsive. You don’t get any app drawer, which is kind of a bummer as I would have expected at least an option to fire one up. However, with the latest update, LG provided with the possibility to choose between an app drawer and standard layout, which is a welcome move. The day to day tasks will fly through this device, and you are not likely to experience any lag or hiccups while navigating through the interface. The fingerprint placed at the back works flawlessly and is easy to locate, unlike some other alternatives.
I also played some games on this beast, and presumably, they were a treat to watch. Unlike some video streaming apps, the games on the LG G6 takes up the entire 5.7-inch (18:9 aspect ratio) display which adds to that pleasing experience you get on the beautiful display. The touch response while gaming was all right as well and the device didn’t release too much heat even after a 30 min log gaming session. I played CSR2, Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5 on my G6. On the downside, one thing which does deteriorate the overall gaming performance is the single bottom firing speaker. The speaker is not that loud and the quality of output is just not up to the mark so some good headphones preferred while gaming.
LG UI is not the best but not the worst as well
I am more of a stock Android person and when it comes to Android skins, I don’t get much excited, however, LG’s UI has grown on me in this past week. Although it's not the fastest and excellent in the market, the UI doesn’t pose any major issues. The whole UI is a lot more colourful to my liking. But, you get a tonne of customizations here. Starting from the ability to customise on-screen buttons to app scaling to KnockON screen unlock to blue-light filter, LG UI has all the necessary customizations. Further, the screen is a little taller, multi-window work even better as you have more content on the screen. Always-On Display is here as well, but it will drain a bit more battery as we have an LCD panel here.
There is a built-in smart doctor who claims to optimise the overall performance of the device including the battery management, hardware testing and a diagnose which will let you know about all the major components of the device. Apart from this, there is also something called ‘Smart Settings’ which would allow you choose a particular sound profile, Wi-Fi when you reach home or you are at work or when you plug in your earphones.
But all is not okay with LG’s UI. First of all, there is a bunch of LG bloatware which will be hardly used by anyone and the fact that it is non-removable takes up some important space of internal storage. Talking about the storage, out of 64GB, you get about 51.7GB as user accessible which in itself tells you how heavy is LG’s skin. Thanks to the 4GB RAM, I didn't encounter any major issues, but there are better android skins elsewhere while this is surely not the worst, you know where I am pointing here.
Now, this is where I really seem to have fallen for LG G6. Yes, the camera on the Galaxy S8 is great, but there is nothing unique. On the other hand, the camera on the LG G6 is fantastic if you want to take wide angle shots. Naming the specifications first, the LG G6 comes with dual 13-megapixel cameras at the back of which one is a f/1.8 aperture sensor while the wide angle lens has a f/2.4 aperture. At the front, LG G6 comes with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture that can record 1080p footage. The rear camera can record in 4K. The overall camera performance of the device is entirely satisfactory.
The wide-angle lens used at the rear comes handy when you want to cover a broader frame and you have limited space. so, for example, if you are taking a landscape image, the wide-angle lens will help you cover a lot more ground, as compared to any other dual-camera smartphone present in the market. However, sometimes you get the fisheye style images, but this is primarily due to the lens shape. The shot from dual lens came out to well were and colour composition was quite close to the source.
The camera is fast to lock focus and the macro shots were quite sharply focused, which is again a good thing. During low light condition, the performance of the device is satisfactory as it is able to handle glare actually and the images came out to be of good quality. Talking about the camera UI, LG has kept the layout user-friendly and it does come with some interesting modes like Poput, snap, panorama, 360 panorama, time-lapse, food and slo-mo. Then you have various filters and three different settings which include, square camera, manual camera and manual video recording options, which at the end gives more control for the advanced users.
Coming to the selfie camera, it does a good job during the broad daylight, and it also comes with a wide-angle selfie, however, the low light performance is not that impressive as you would expect from a flagship device. The selfies taken in the low light or indoor lighting condition, came out to be a bit soft in nature and some of them was a bit pixelated. Overall, the camera performance of the LG G6 is satisfactory, and the wide-angle lens does it magic on many occasions.
How does the 3300 mAh battery deliver?
Another area where LG G6 outshines the Galaxy S8 is the battery. The device comes with a 3300 mAh battery, and LG has including a heat pipe alongside the battery inside which makes sure that there is no overheating going on. For the battery performance, I was able to get 5 hours of SoT (Screen on Time) on average with over a day's usage. LG G6 also supports fast charging, and you juice up this thing from 15 - 100 percent in just 1.5 hours. So starting my day at 8 AM in the morning, I was able to run through until 2 PM next day while If I was a bit more aggressive on the device, it would only last till 10 AM the next day. My day would include web browsing, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, a bit of music listening and a little less than an hour of calls. Note, these results are with Always On Display switched off so the battery life is likely to suffer if the option is switched on.
Connectivity, Audio and Water Resistance
The LG G6 comes with all the necessary sensors and connectivity options including - Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC, FM Radio, GPS with A-GPS, etc. For the call quality, I was not much impressed with the quality of the earpiece. A lot of times, the sound coming through it would be mushy, and the output of the single bottom firing speaker is not that impressive as well.
What is impressive is the 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC. Unlike other smartphones, LG G6 has four DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor) to give you a much better sound output and although the earphones provided in the box are average, the Hi-Fi Quad DAC does help, but there is a catch. Your music quality should take advantage of the 32-bit Quad DAC. Otherwise, the audio output is just like on any other smartphone.
Besides various Military ruggedness certifications, LG G6 is also IP68 certified which makes it water and dust proof to some extent. We did keep it under a water tap and the device worked just fine although you will have to wait for the USB port to dry up before you could charge your device next time.
To sum up, LG has finally built up a great phone as compared to its predecessor and has added some interesting features. The star of the show is the new LG FullVision Display, though it is still at niche stage and with Samsung following the suite, we believe that the new aspect ratio might become a norm in 2018. However, using an older processor has definitely put the smartphone on the back foot. No doubt, this is probably one of the best devices from LG, but when compared to the competition, it becomes a tough job for G6 to compete with other flagship devices. If the company drops the price of LG G6, which it often do, then it would become a far more interesting proposition.
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